Three fascinating glimpses into the future of jazz await the San Diego jazz fan in the coming days, in the form of two concerts that will certainly rank among the highlights of 2014.
On March 7, the internationally renowned flute virtuoso Nicole Mitchell brings her Sun Dial Ensemble to a Fresh Sound production, held at the School of the Arts at 4441 Park Boulevard. Mitchell actually lived in San Diego some years back, studying at UCSD. She really came into her own in Chicago, however, as an important figure in the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), of which she eventually became the first female president.
Several years ago, Mitchell moved back to Southern California to take a teaching position at UC Irvine and we are all richer for that move. Mitchell is an astonishing voice on the instrument, and each time I see her, I become more staggered by her talent.
The Sun Dial Ensemble is filled with the highest caliber musicians (all band leaders in their own right) who are sure to take this experience to a transcendent level. The band consists of vocalist Dwight Trible, bassist Mark Dresser, trombonist Michael Dessen, guitarist Jeff Parker, percussionist Najite Agindotan and drummer Juan David Rubio. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., costs just $15 and will definitely blow your mind.
The two other “can’t miss” experiences both occur on the same night when the Loft at UC San Diego hosts a double-bill performance of the Daniel Rosenboom Quintet and the Joshua White / Peter Sprague Group.
Rosenboom is one of the brightest lights in the LA free-jazz scene, a guy who consistently pushes the envelope, and his band, which features Gavin Templeton on reeds, Alex Noice on guitar, Kai Kurosawa on Bear Trax, and Dan Schnelle on drums will combine elements of grunge, metal, and Balkan rhythms into something entirely new.
Closing out the evening will be the first extended meeting between two San Diego jazz icons: White and Sprague. I’m expecting sparks to fly from this one. These two have never really played together before, and I look forward to the push and pull between the two masters. Rounding out the band will be Ben Schachter on tenor saxophone, and the LA rhythm section of Hamilton Price on bass with Dan Schnelle on drums.
If you love creative music, you owe it to yourself to make both of these concerts.
Robert Bush is a freelance jazz writer who has been exploring the San Diego improvised music scene for more than 30 years.